Arcade by Drew Nellins Smith
A Novel

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Though multiple scenes are repeated with little variation (phone calls discussing the exact same things, sex acts in booths, etc.), this is a sharply observed and sometimes witty novel.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

An unnamed man, in the wake of a breakup, begins frequenting a peepshow arcade where closeted men meet for anonymous sex. The arcade is a strange world, one where questions of power, race, and class collide with unhinged sexual desire, with fetishes, fantasies, and even occasionally love.

The protagonist explores this curious new place, where many of society's rules are thrown out and replaced with a very specific code of conduct. After being driven to the arcade by a break-up and subsequent obsession with a cop who left him due to his fear of coming out, he compulsively returns, neurotically cataloguing the sights and sounds of the arcade, its overwhelming sleaziness, its safety and dangers.

As his adventures both within the arcade and beyond continue to escalate, he must eventually confront whether his time at the arcade is just the passing phase that his small town Texas family insists it is, or perhaps, the gateway to a new way of life.
 

About Drew Nellins Smith

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Drew Nellins Smith’s essays, reviews, and interviews have appeared in many places, including The Los Angeles Times, The Believer, Tin House, Paste Magazine, The Millions, and The Daily Beast. He lives in Austin, TX.
 
Published May 16, 2016 by The Unnamed Press. 222 pages
Genres: Gay & Lesbian, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Arcade
All: 2 | Positive: 0 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Above average
on Jun 14 2016

Smith offers few glimpses into Sam’s life outside the arcade...Nevertheless, Smith has crafted a daring and compelling debut that sheds light on a rather unusual lifestyle. A sexy and poignant novel that could have done well with a more original exploration of gay mores.

Read Full Review of Arcade: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Jul 25 2016

Though multiple scenes are repeated with little variation (phone calls discussing the exact same things, sex acts in booths, etc.), this is a sharply observed and sometimes witty novel.

Read Full Review of Arcade: A Novel | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Reader Rating for Arcade
95%

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